Criminals in the Spotlight

When the news media reports on crimes, even the most heinous ones, should the criminals be named? In this article, they compare the journalistic and government approaches of America, Canada, and a handful of European Countries. The person who produced this study, established the countries into three different groups in regards to how they proceed with the telling or not telling of the criminal’s names and their reasons why.

I found this article very interesting because of the different reasons why the countries share and don’t share the name of their criminals. Especially in comparison to what America does.

“In the Netherlands and in Sweden, the practices are codified in ethics codes but those aren’t laws. People follow them because they believe that’s the right thing to do not because it’s required that they do that. They have freedom of the press in the same sense of the word that we have it here in North America, but journalists routinely choose to protect names and identities because they believe that’s the ethical thing to do. Because they believe that stories about crime can be told without naming a person and sometimes implicitly by shaming them. Naming implies a punishment.”

So what? 

I believe that this topic is important. When a big news media story circulates, especially tragic ones, the information is plastered everywhere, including the culprit who committed the crime. In a matter of hours or a day, it’s on newspapers, magazines, news outlets, websites, etc.

My personal opinion is that we do not always need to know the name of the criminal. It should be on a case-by-case basis though. Not every crime is the same. However, those that are purposely seeking notoriety and commit crimes mainly to be known and remembered for that reason should not be granted that request. When we do that, wouldn’t we be enabling these people? More importantly, when we put so much focus on who did the crime, we take away the light that should be shed on the victims and their families.

Lastly, we should also take into consideration the times that people falsely get convicted and then their name is ruined. The news media drags their name in the dirt and that can never be erased. The last time I checked the American justice system is; innocent until proven guilty. However, because our society is so engulfed in details and the plastering of information everywhere, that this isn’t always the case. As a result, it ruins people’s lives and may even cause more harm and grief to the victims and their families.

REFERENCE:

https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/otm/episodes/name-or-not-name-on-the-media

COMPLETED: 3/19/21

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Opening an Old Can of Worms

I recently read an article about a 2007 interview Paris Hilton had on the David Letterman Show. The article was titled “Paris Hilton says David Letterman ‘purposefully’ tried to ‘humiliate’ her during 2007 interview about jail.” Long title, I know. During the interview, Letterman asked Paris questions that apparently she did not feel comfortable with and that’s understandable. What I don’t understand is why talk about it now? What’s the point of opening an old can of worms? Especially since Letterman apologized.

This became news after Paris mentioned it on her podcast a few days ago. The first paragraph of the article on USA Today writes “During Monday’s episode of her podcast “This is Paris.” etc. I didn’t even know Paris had a podcast until reading this article. I’m not trying to negate how she felt during the interview and the overall situation, but I can’t help but to hesitate these days on what people say when. Celebrities often use “stunts” like these to draw attention to their podcasts, projects, things they’re selling, etc. As of now, there are articles about this interview on; Fox News, Buzzfeed News, USA Today, Yahoo, Entertainment Weekly, Insider, and more.

So what? At the end of the article, it mentions how Letterman apologized. He sent Paris a case of wine. Also, he had her back on his show a few months later to apologize. Letterman stated “I found out afterward I had offended you. I felt horrible about it because I’m not here to make enemies, honestly,” “So I called you, and you took the call, which I thought was very nice of you, and now you’re back and thank God, and I’m terribly sorry.”

Of course, this apology is at the way end of the article, so if you just read the headline or the beginning of the article you can quickly make your assumption. Most likely in a negative view of Letterman. I’m also not saying that it’s okay to talk about subjects that make others uncomfortable and to push boundaries. However, people make mistakes. When does the bullied become the bully? And to add to that, when does the media become the accomplice?

I believe that some things are better left in the past. What’s the point of bringing this up again? Maybe if it wasn’t resolved, sure. However, it just seems as though people want to talk about anything to remain relevant and the media let’s them do it for click bait. It’s like the cans of worms that feed each other. Lastly, why is this on Fox News? It’s laughable how far away the “news” is from reporting on actual news.

REFERENCE: https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/paris-hilton-david-letterman-purposefully-humiliate-2007-interview-jail

https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/celebrities/2021/03/01/paris-hilton-accuses-david-letterman-trying-humiliate-me/6878152002/

COMPLETED: 3/4/21

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Tweets from the Underground

Firstly, I want to mention that I am not writing about this in support of racist remarks. However, I wanted to talk about the resurfacing of racist tweets and my thoughts about them.

The latest person to be called out on old tweets is Alexi McCammond. McCammond is the new editor at Teen Vogue. In 2011 she posted a few racists remarks on Twitter about Asians. I will not go into the details about the tweets, but the link below has more information. Some people think that McCammond should step down from her new position. However, it does not seem like Teen Vogue, Condé Nast, or McAmmond has any plans of doing so. She apologized two years ago when the tweets first resurfaced. McCammond took responsibility then and apologized again when they recently came back to “haunt” her.

So what? 

We are living in the first time in history where people can have a thought, instantly grab their internet source, type words into a box, and send it out where millions of people could potentially see it. Yes, in the past people had written letters and emails, but I don’t think they are as extorted and available as tweets are. Also, I would argue that emails and letters take more time and thought process. Not only that but if the tweets are not deleted or censored, they get collected over the years.

We are still navigating this new socially technological world and clearly, this is one of the downsides. Yes, the rebirth of a tweet can shine a light on a person with a flawed character, but what about people who are young and growing?

Young people can be ignorant. That is not a bad thing per se. I would argue that young people are ignorant because they have the least amount of experience simply due to their age. Their brains are still developing and there is a process of going from accepting what your family believes in and creating your own beliefs and values. This is not an overnight perfect process.

I would also argue that many people grow out of those thoughts in a natural process. However, nowadays the ignorant tweets are stored and saved for years. They make their way back from the underground when people get new jobs. Often ones that are in the spotlight: politics, movie stars, and in this case, popular teen magazines.

People change, people grow, but old tweets stay the same. Yes, you should think twice or maybe three times before clicking the send button. Also, allow some grace to people who make mistakes. We are all flawed, nobody is perfect. I know that if I were young and had Twitter available at all times of the day, I would have said some dumb stuff! Probably even had some drug paraphernalia as many of us have had that stage in life.

This is not the first article I have seen in regards to racist or negative tweets being recovered, examined, and then exploited on the news. Remember when we click the articles, the online media pages make money! Racist or ignorant tweets grab clicks, especially if it’s someone in the spotlight.

Note for self: delete old tweets or Twitter in general! Or better yet, try to bite your tongue if you are processing racist negative thoughts about someone. Give it to God and keep it moving!

REFERENCE:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/celebrities/2021/03/10/olivia-munn-asks-teen-vogue-editor-acknowledge-past-racist-tweet/6946991002/

COMPLETED: 3/11/21

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Tiger Woods

On February 23rd at 7:00 am in California, Tiger Woods was in a one-car vehicle accident. The car ran off the road and flipped on its side in an embankment. It wasn’t long after the car accident that pictures and details were posted all over the media and news outlets, including, but not limited to, Twitter & Instagram. It even made the tri-state area 5:00 evening news. If this wasn’t an accident featuring a celebrity, would it still be plastered all over the media and news sites? Most likely not.

Shortly after the accident, Woods was rushed to the hospital where he received surgery on his injuries. Did Woods sign off on the allowance to use pictures of his damaged vehicle? Or how about the details of his surgery? Was he able to provide consent in his own words before new sources splashed articles on their websites and media pages? I do not believe that he did. As of today, February 24th, there are articles about Woods’ accident on the websites of CNN, ESPN, TMZ, Fox Business, Fox News, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, and many more.

So what? I bring this up because is this ethical? What if Woods did not want his damaged car and injuries to be plastered all over the news? Thankfully Woods seems to be stable and okay, but what if he was not? What if he died? Would his family be able to process this information before the news and media outlets used headlines to get people to click? Sure some news and media outlets want to inform, but what deciphers them from the outlets using clickbait to make money? I don’t know for sure how to answer that question, but if I were to guess the families would not be able to process this in peace.

Is the privacy of a famous person ripped away entirely when they reach a certain level of “fame” and “status?” We can compare this to the way TMZ reported on Kobe Bryant’s death before his family even knew about it. The way the media was used to harass Brittney Spears to the point of hysteria. Most media and news sources used Woods’ accident to mention things from his past. Like the CNN article (attached below) they go on to talk about his past legal issues and “the ups and downs of Tiger’s career.” Is this necessary?

I think it is important for the news and media to update regular civilians on the status of the happenings of people in the public eye, but to what extent? What is too much when it comes to media coverage for celebrities? Does their consent matter? Where do we draw the line and if someone crosses the line, who is to hold them accountable?

REFERENCE: https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/24/us/tiger-woods-car-accident-wednesday-intl-spt/index.html

COMPLETED: 2/24/21

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